First two thirds were great, the last ten minutes not so much, but winning feels great.
We'll start with the positives.
Notre Dame outscored the Penguins 53-31 in the first half. The Irish shot 55% from the floor, 41% from the three-point line. Outrebounded Youngstown State 44-34, 24 assists to 17 turnovers, and stayed out of foul trouble.
On the not-so-positive side, Youngstown St. scored ten more points than Notre Dame in the second half and the Irish saw their offense shut down. 14% from long range in the second period, bad mistakes and an increase in turnovers. The team just looked like they wanted to get to the locker room as soon as possible. Not the end of the world, but you can't do that against better opponents. Still, a win's a win.
Kyle McAlarney looked like a completely different player. He is really adapting well to the 2 guard position, taking open shots whenever they present themselves. Today he was converting those opportunities, scoring 23 points with 5 three pointers in 10 attempts.
Luke Harangody continued his great run of games with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Really dominating performance down low. Also showed some unselfishness with 4 assists. If he keeps this kind of effort up the rest of the year, an all-conference selection will be waiting.
Rob Kurz provided an added rebounding force that was lacking in the Virgin Islands. 11 rebounds and 8 points for the lone senior. Only 26 minutes on the floor, but was a good complement to Bamm-Bamm and K-Mac.
Tory Jackson was very good until the end of the game. 9 points and 6 assists, but many of his 6 turnovers came down the stretch. Some mental mistakes and general carelessness. He needs to work on closing games out.
Ryan Ayers scored 6 points on 2 of 8 shooting. 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Only played 26 minutes.
Zach Hillesland scored 10, grabbed 5 boards, had 3 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal in 18 minutes. Just gives you a balanced effort all over the scoresheet.
Luke Zeller scored 4 and had two rebounds in 15 minutes. Jonathan Peoples continues to look good when given minutes. Not a lot of stats, but is gaining Coach Brey's respect with his trustworthy control of the offense when in the game.
Ty Nash was the only freshman who worked up a sweat, as the lead dropped too low in the closing moments to trust the inexperienced players. He played well and I really would like to see him break into the regular rotation. Even 5-10 minutes a night would be sufficient for him to produce a little and grow in confidence. Tim Abromitis played only a minute and Ty Proffitt saw his first action of the year, taking off his redshirt. Proffitt's appearance virtually confirms the speculation that Carleton Scott will take his freshman year off.
Lots of 2-3 zone, which looked pretty good. Still as my cousin Ellen said at the Thanksgiving dinner table, "Hot shooting will tear apart the zone defense every time." Wise words. The Penguins shot 63% from deep in the second half to make Notre Dame forget about a rout and just hope to hold on.
The first half was very encouraging, with 62% shooting and a very fluid attack. However, the lack of concentration down the half really hurt the Irish. The mistakes and poor shooting down the stretch served as a strong reminder of what went wrong last weekend.
Need to fix the problems, but let's just be happy tonight. After all, Notre Dame football is 3-9.